From the Navaho, The Wanderings

By this time tassels were coming out on their cornstalks and ears of corn had begun to form.

When some of the silk on the ears of corn had turned red, two girls and two boys were sent to bring in some ears of young corn. Returning they carried the ears of young corn. They poured some water in a basket and placed the corn in it, and then they took the ears out with the water dripping from them and said: "May we have the Black Cloud which brings the Male Rain. May we have the Black Cloud which brings the Female Rain. May we have all the beautiful flowers and their pollens." And then they boiled the young corn and they ate it. They ate this green thing as they had been instructed to do.

After 4 days had passed Chief Ba'nee' sent four more children, two boys and two girls, to the cornfields. He said: "There may be more young corn by now." The children went to the fields, but only the two girls returned bringing the young corn. They told the people that after they had gathered the young corn they were playing hide-and-seek. They could not find the boys. Their tracks ended right out in the open where they had stood side by side. So then Chief Ba'nee' told the people that he could guess that the boys had returned to their Grandmother. So nothing more was done about the missing boys.

After 4 days passed Ba'nee' sent four more children to gather the young corn. This time a boy and a girl came running back and said: "The missing boys have returned, and they say that they have lots to tell. But first, they want a brush shelter built. The main poles must be touched with corn pollen. You must lay a branch of mountain mahogany, tses ta'zee, and a branch of joint pine, tlo ho'zee'e, crossing each other. And you must make four footprints from the entrance to the inner side with corn pollen."

The people made all those things ready. Then Chief Ba'nee' and some others went out and brought the boys to the shelter. When the boys entered they stepped on the footprints. They stood on the crossed branches and were washed. After this was done they told their story.

When they were playing hide-and-seek, their grandfathers, Hasjelti and Hasjohon, stood before them. They said: "Your grandmother wishes you to come. Now raise your right foot." Just as they did so they were taken to the top of the peak called Chush gaeye, and, with the next step, to a peak called Tsin'beleye. On the top of this latter peak they were washed just as they had been washed in the brush shelter. From there they went to the mountain called Tlo gaeye dzil, and then on to their grandmother's home.

There they stood before the old woman. She rose up, and, with the help of her walking stick, hobbled into the east room of her dwelling. She returned younger, and she went into the south room. From there she came back a young woman. She went into the west room, and she came back a maiden. She went into the north room, and she returned a young girl.

The White Bead Girl told the boys that they were to learn the Night Chant and all the prayers that went with it. For it was by this ceremony that they should live. So the two boys learned all the chants and the prayers that they were to use in the spring when the plants and the flowers and the young animals come out, and at the time of the harvest.

note: Mountain mahogany, tse'esdazi, heavy as stone, Cercocarpus parvifolius.

note: Tses ta'zee, joint pine, also called joint fir, Mexican or Mormon tea, teamster's tea, canatilla, and popotillo, is Ephedra. It was known and grown in China ages ago.

note: tlo'aze, grass medicine, Ephedra trifurcata.

note: ch'osh'gai, white spruce.

After this the White Bead Woman said: "The Dîné shall have horses." And the first chant that she sang is this:

From the East comes a big black mare.
Changed Into a maiden
She comes to me.
From the South comes a blue mare.
Changed into a maiden
She comes to me.
From the West comes a sorrel mare.
Changed into a maiden
She comes to me.
From the North comes a white mare.
Changed into a maiden
She comes to me.

The chant is divided into two parts, two sections are sung and then four sections.

The White Bead Woman chanted again:

This is my plan:
I am the White Bead Woman.
In the center of my home I planned it.
On top of the beautiful goods I planned it.
The white bead basket which contains the horse fetishes,
They lay before me as I planned it.
All the beautiful flowers with their pollens
And the horse fetishes,
They lay in each other,
They lay before me as I planned it.
To increase and to multiply, not to decrease.
They lay inside (the animals) as I planned it.

There are about 20 sections of this chant. It changes slightly each time.

After the White Bead Woman's chanting, the four horses began to move, the white-bead horse fetish, the turquoise horse fetish, the white-shell horse fetish and the banded stone horse fetish. These four stone fetishes were made into living horses.

Life came into them and they whinnied. Then the White Bead Woman took the horses from her home. She placed them on the white bead plain, on the turquoise plain, on the white bead hill, and on the turquoise hill. Returning, she laid out four baskets--the white bead basket, the turquoise basket, the white shell basket, and the black jet basket. In these she placed the medicine which would make the horses drop their colts. The White Bead Woman then went outside and chanted, and down came the horses from the hills; but instead of four there came a herd. They circled the home, and they came to the baskets and licked up the medicine with one lick. Now some of the horses licked twice around the baskets; so once in a long while there are twin colts. But the horses that licked out of the black jet basket licked more than once, and they have many colts. Then out of the herd there came one with long ears. She snorted and jumped away; and the second time she approached the basket she snorted and ran away. So she was not to have young, either male or female.

note: The introduction of horses, although apparently of great antiquity as evidenced by the earlier part of the myth, is of comparatively recent origin. The three-toed horse existed in the Americas and disappeared because of the tsetse fly. The horse was reintroduced by the Spaniards.

It was planned that the fetishes of the horses were to be laid in the center of the earth, in a place called Sis na' dzil, near, or beyond Hanes on the road to Cuba (N. Mex.).

The White Bead Woman told the boys that they were to have the horses in their country; that when she believes it is for their good they will multiply, or again, they will decrease. So they do not always multiply. Some years, when there is poor grass and deep snow, many die.

The White Bead Woman then sent the two boys to the Twelve Holy Beings, the Dîné na' kiza'tana gaeye. They were to teach the two boys more chants. They were to show them how to make the medicine for a male colt and a female colt. They were to run strings through a white bead for a female, and a turquoise bead for a male colt. And they were shown how to tie it in the mouth of a colt and run the string around the lower jaw. The colt must nurse with it for 4 days. The umbilical cord must be tied and left until it dries and drops off. The sacred earth from the mountains must be used for the female, and for the male colt, the crystal. Four turquoise beads must be placed in the medicine bag for the male colt. The same is done for the female, but white beads replace the turquoise. The sacred earth from the mountains and the banded male stone (agate), hada'huniye, are used when there are prayers for horses. And when they ask for any goods or rain this banded stone is used.

Then the boys were told that the horses' hoofs are hada' huniye, the banded male stone. The hair of the mane and tail is called nltsa'najin, little streaks of rain. The mane is called e'alinth chene. Horses' ears are the heat lightning, that which flashes in the night. The big stars that sparkle are their eyes. The different growing plants are their faces. The big bead, yo'tso, is their lips. The white bead is the teeth. Tliene delne'dil hilth, a black fluid, was put inside horses to make the whinny. Should a horse have a white spot on its forehead or a bald face it has been made by the big stars. If a horse has white stockings, he also sees by them.

note: There are 85 Horse Chants. They are to be used for the good of the horses.

Then the boys were taken home by the same way they had come. They went through the whole ceremony, beginning with the bath. In the first Night Chant the boys chanted the songs that they had learned. This lasted all night. They then chanted the chants of the horses in the same manner as the Night Chant.

After they had finished there came a man from near Sis na'dzil. Now this man saw a horse standing in the distance, to the East. He went over to it, but he found that it was only a plant called ga'tso dan, jack-rabbit corn. The next day he saw another horse standing in a place to the South. He went to it, but it was only the grass called nit'dit lede. The next day he saw another horse. This was to the West, and when he went to it, it proved to be only tlo nas tasse, sheepgrass. The fourth time he saw the horse was to the North. And it turned out to be only the droppings of some animal.

Now this man was one of the people who had come from the mountain Sis na'jin. And the person Dotso came to him and said: "What are you doing here, my Grandchild?" The man said: "I saw a horse four times; and each time it turned out to be a plant or something." Dotso told him that he should go to the home of his father, the Sun. When he got there he was asked what he had come for. He said: "I have seen a horse four different times, and each time it turned out to be only some grass or plant."

There the man saw horse fetishes to the East, South, West, and North. Then he was taken to the opening in the sky, to a place called Haya tsa'tsis. He was asked to look back. "From where did we start?" he was asked. Now the Little Breeze whispered in the man's ear: "If you do not tell him aright, what you came for will not be granted." Then the man said: "Way over where the two rivers come together, there is where we started."

Then he chanted:

I am the Sun's son.
I sat on the turquoise horse.
He went to the opening in the sky.
He went with me to the opening.
The turquoise horse prances with me.
From where we start the turquoise horse is seen.
The lightning flashes from the turquoise horse.
The turquoise horse is terrifying.
He stands on the upper circle of the rainbow.

note: That is the place where the Mud Clan claims that they buried the beads and the white bead walking stick. Different ones have searched for them; but they have never been found.

note: ga tso dan, or kat so tha, jack rabbit grass, Eurotia lunata Moquin.

note: ndid li'di, mountain rice, Oryzopsis cuspidata.

note: tlo nas tasse', sheepgrass, tlo nastqasi, grama grass, Bonteloua hirsuta.

The sunbeam is in his mouth for his bridle.
He circles around all the peoples of the earth
With their goods.
Today he is on my side
And I shall win with him.

This chant is used to thank the Powers for horses. These are the last two sections. The chant was correct as a prophecy, for the horse, or team, is used to earn "goods'--money with which to buy blankets, clothing, food.

The Sun told the man that he must offer a gift to the plant called ga'tso dan that he had seen in the East. He should go to that place and camp. Then he should go to the South and camp, and offer a gift to the grass called nit'dit lede; then to the West and camp for the night, and the next morning offer a gift to the grass called tlo nas tasse. Then he should go to the North and camp, and offer a gift to the droppings of some animal. After that he would see the horse.

When the man returned to the earth he obeyed the Sun. He chanted four sections of the chant that he sang when he went to the four directions.

I came upon it.
I came upon it.
I came upon it.
I am the White Bead Woman,
I came upon it.
In the center of my home,
I came upon It.
Right where the white bead basket sits,
I came upon it.
The basket has four turquoise decorations,
I came upon it.
The white bead basket has a turquoise finishing around the edge,
I came upon it.
The white bead horses stand toward the basket from the four directions,
As I came upon it.
All the beautiful flowers are its pollen,
Black clouds are the water they have in their mouths,
As I came upon them.
White poles for its enclosure (corral)
As I came upon them.
Blue poles for its enclosure,
As I came upon them.
Yellow poles for its enclosure,
As I came upon them.
Iridescent poles for its enclosure, flashing,
As I came upon them.
The rainbow for its gate,
As I came upon it.
The sun closes its entrance (gate of corral)
As I came upon it.
The white bead horses pour out,
As I came upon them.
The turquoise horses pouring out,
As I came upon them.
The white shell horses pouring out,
As I came upon them.
The male banded stone horses pouring out,
As I came upon them.
All mixed horses, together with the sheep, pouring out,
As I came upon them.
As the horses pour out with the beautiful goods,
As I came upon them.
The earth's pollen (dust) rises as they pour out,
The shining dust of the earth covers their bodies,
As I came upon them.
To multiply and not to decrease,
As I came upon them.
Like the Most High Power Whose Ways Are Beautiful are my horses,
As I came upon them.
Before my horses all is beautiful,
Behind my horses all is beautiful.
As I came upon them.
As I came upon them.

From that time the horses were given to men, but the rainbow and all the supernatural powers were taken from them by the Holy Ones. Also, the Holy Beings were not to be seen again by men. The medicine and the chants have been used and learned by those who wished to learn and use them. Those who discredit them and do not wish to use the medicines or learn the chants will have a difficult life. It is the belief that those who learn and use and care for these sacred things will not regret it. Their work will be made lighter for them.